Friday, December 25, 2009

Five years of construction and we're finally closing in....


Many of you who know me or have been following me for a while know that we've been living in a construction zone for quite some time. Let's see... "quite some time" would equate to about 5 years.



I can't believe that I'm actually able to say that we are just about done with scaffolding, ladders, primer, sheet cloths, and all the other stuff that goes along with living inside your own construction zone. This year we actually got to enjoy our first Christmas in our new great room.

We're still getting settled and I'm still decorating and trying to figure out where to hang this, what to do with this corner, and what table I have that would fit here, BUT - it's livable, and more importantly, it's organized! Organization being the key word here. I can't tell you just how disorganized our life has been for five years. I will be tweaking for quite some time, but just so darn glad to have the big chunks out of the way. And besides, is anyone ever done tweaking when it comes to decorating?


This is what the other side of the room looks like. Yeah - it's a bar there in the corner.

We like to entertain. We live too far from any decent bars, so we just built our own. Y'all can come here and have a cocktail anytime you like!


This is a better shot of the ceiling and the stained glass window we had made. Regarding the ceiling, it is tongue and groove. When we figured out how much wood we had to buy for all of our tongue and groove ceilings in the new construction areas, we figured out that we have 2 1/2 miles of the stuff!
The stained glass window was made by Mr. Cavallini in San Antonio. I know I don't have a good shot of it, but it is actually a lavender field with some hummingbirds hovering over a lavender plant with a hayfield and live oak trees in the background. Which, for those of you that have ever been out here, know that those things are what symbolize Hummingbird Farms.




So I'm going to miss the Christmas tree, but will always remember our first Christmas in this room. Oh - and the fact that Jack and I listened to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack on Christmas Eve.... That's another story.


Oh yeah - the BEST story of all about this Christmas is that we have three new baby longhorns and more on the way! So - in my next post I will introduce you to the newest members of Hummingbird Farms: Jingle, Bell, and Holly! They are so adorable and about the same size as our standard poodles. Just precious!
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Percolating Memories from Hummingbird Farms

I am sitting here having my first cup of percolated coffee from our brand new Presto percolator! I have to tell you that it is one fine cup of coffee. Seeing my new percolator sitting in my hundred year old farmhouse makes me feel all nostalgic. It just seems to fit so much better than a drip coffee maker. In fact, I think I'm going to go put on a skirt and an apron and sit here until this entire pot is gone. It feels like the appropriate thing to do. Our drip coffee maker went out the other day so I snagged the drip coffee maker from our guest house and brought it into the main house, only to have it go out on us a few days later. After that, Jack and I both agreed that we were done with drip coffee makers. For some reason it seems like we've been having to buy a new coffee maker every couple of years (or less).

We have a big Bertha percolator that we get out when we have company. It always makes the best coffee and everyone always comments on how much better percolated coffee tastes compared to drip coffee. Every now and then we will get down Big Bertha just for ourselves to enjoy some great coffee for the weekend, even when we don't have company. The great thing about big Bertha is that you can make it early in the morning and literally drink it all day without it ever getting bitter, unlike a drip coffee maker. So - when both of our K*ups coffee makers went out on us, we decided we were done with drips....

I grew up on percolated coffee. I can still remember when my parents got their in vogue Mr. Coffee. Everyone except our neighbor, that is, seemed to be throwing out their percolators for their new drip system coffee maker. Our neighbor and my Mom's best friend, Tomi, had a green percolator (it matched her linoleum) and she flat refused to get rid of it. Far be it from Tomi to do what everyone else was doing. She has always been her own trend-setter and has always had a unique beat to her very own special drum. I often realize how many of her philosophies I live by to this day; she had such an influence in my life. I also realize how fortunate I was to have grown up with a house across the street that was as much like mine as my own house. Our families were very close. Tomi's younger daughter and I were inseparable and her older daughter watched out for me and treated me as much like her little sister as her own. Her husband would load up all the kids and take us all camping and fishing and instilled in me my love and appreciation of Big Bend National Park, and Tomi and my mother were - well, let's just say partners in crime... There was no defined line between our families. Our very existence was a 'mi casa, su casa' concept. If I was ever missing it was just assumed I was across the street. I was a part of their family and they were a part of mine.

Okay - back to Tomi's green percolator (which looked like the one here, but was green). I can remember it all the way back to elementary school because her older daughter was always responsible for cleaning it out and getting it ready for the next morning. She taught me how to put it together and clean it out. I also remember coming home from college and fixing myself a cup of coffee from that same green percolator. I recall once being home for a visit (I had to have been in my late 20's if not 30) and laughing at that antiquated percolator and asking Tomi why she didn't get a new coffee maker. She looked at me like I was totally whacked and said, "Why would I get a new coffee maker when this one still works?" She was also insistent that percolated coffee had a better flavor than drip coffee.

So today, decades later, I'm sitting here drinking a fine cup of percolated coffee and finding myself, yet again, living by one of Tomi's philosophies in life that has proven once again to be so very right.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm back from my blogiday!

According to urbandictionary.com, a blogiday is when you get fed up and take a holiday from your weblog. Of course it's possible you didn't even know I was taking a blogiday, but I did... It wasn't planned or anything, I simply checked out of cyberspace for a bit. So - what have I been doing? Well, nursing my knee for one. And a whole lot of other stuff, too. But because I haven't checked in for a while, let me give you the run down on the whole knee debacle.

So this is where it all started, the 'Window' in Big Bend National Park. It was Labor Day weekend and Jack and I planned a hiking trip to the 'Window'. The weekend was actually going to be chockful of other wonderful things - which, I'll get to later. But first, the hike which was first on our list for the long weekend...

So as you can see from the picture above (which I took, by the way, and am pretty darn proud of being that I'm generally not a good photographer) it was a beautiful day and perfect weather for a nice hike through the window. It was mid to high 70's, perfect temperature, and had rained earlier so the air was light and fresh. Just a perfect day!

So this is me all chipper and happy and proud of myself because I am yards away from reaching the premier viewing spot inside the window. At this point we are about 2 1/2 miles in.


Jack got to the window before me. I snapped this picture, jumped off a boulder and KERPLUNK!! For a brief moment in time I forgot that I was 40-something and no longer 20-something. It's amazing how often I forget my age.... I hopscotched my way off that boulder in my eagerness to see the view at the end of the trail.

However, what happened was I hopped but my knee didn't scotch. You gotta have a scotch with the hop or you end up in a heap of a mess.

So a severed ACL and crushed meniscus later, I'm hear to tell you that I did manage to get my dang picture taken in the window! I wasn't going to hike all that way and not have proof of it. I literally crawled up as far as I could go and got this British couple who was just ahead of us to snap our picture:

Check out my hair! Does it look like I had the fall of my life just moments earlier? You can tell that I'm standing with all my weight on one leg and Jack has a look of shock on his face; he's probably wondering, "how the hell am I gonna get this chick out of here?" I knew a few hours later that I had really messed up my knee, but I think when this picture was snapped I was still thinking that maybe it was just sort of twisted or something and I was going to shake out of it or something.

Well - I didn't shake out of it. I had to have a cadaver ligament put in to replace my severed one (it can really gross me out if I think long enough about it) and spent six weeks non-weight bearing and on crutches. Needless to say, I have the poundage to prove it...

So one of the other wonderful things that occurred that weekend while I hobbled around with my blown out knee was my precious nephew's 2nd birthday. Yeah - I made it to the party but will spare pictures of myself being that by that point in time I had realized that my knee was messed up and I was really hurting, although for some stupid reason I kept telling everyone, "Nah, it really doesn't hurt that much...." Who was I kidding? And what in the world was I trying to prove???



My little nephew, Henry, is just so darn cute! He's actually as sweet as he is cute, too. This is happy Henry after eating lots of cake and ice cream.




This is really, really happy Henry after even more birthday cake! Or maybe it's "brain freeze" Henry after lots and lots of ice cream....



I also missed out on taking a hot air balloon ride.... That was going to happen on the last day of our trip (that's my dad in the red hat), but - well, with a blown out knee it's kind of hard to have a potential rough landing when you can only stand on one leg. I wasn't in the mood for two blownout knees....



But Jack got to have a grand ride over the valley in Alpine and I got to hear all about it on the six hour drive home.

Oh yeah - there's one more thing that happened on this trip. We picked up a stray dog on the side of road. Why? Because we really needed a sixth dog. More on that story later....

In the meantime, I will be checking in with all my blogging buddies to see what's been going on in your world while I was basking in my blogiday sun. Be patient with me, as it will take me while to get around to everyone.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Festival, A Feast, & A Blown-out Knee...

Hi everyone! Wanted to let ya'll know that we will have the farm open on Saturday, October 3rd! We may not have lavender in our fields, but we'll sure have pumpkins! Our neighbor, Wild Boar Farms on Luckenbach Road, will be hauling over a truckload of fresh grown hill country pumpkins. Stop by and pick up your Jack-O-Lanterns for the season AND hang out and visit with us for a while; we'll let you know all about growing lavender in the Hill Country, AND - well, what we're still trying to figure out about farming lavender in the hill country ...

Jack will be happy to talk about farming, and I'll be chatting with anyone who will listen about my inspiration of Hummingbird Farms Aromatherapy Body Care.



It will be a busy weekend in Johnson City! Five other area lavender farms will be opening their gates, AND the locals will be preparing for a feast complete with live & silent auctions and entertainment at the 10th Annual Wild Game Dinner held at the Blanco County Fairgrounds in Johnson City.

If you can make it out this way, please go to www.johnsoncitytexaschamber.com or call 830-868-7684 for more information and to check out the other farms that will be open.

So - when it rains, it pours! Literally. We haven't had rain ALL summer and FINALLY after months of waiting for Mother Nature to give us a drink of her cloud juice, she decided to bless us with a bucket or two of the stuff. AND - in addition to that......

Get ready for this one.....

Jack and I went hiking in Big Bend National Park over Labor Day weekend and I blew out my knee. For real. I severed my ACL and tore my meniscus. But - this is a whole 'nother story.... I'll share more details later. In the meantime, I am scheduled for surgery on Thursday, 9/24. So - it looks like I'll be wobbling around out here at our place on the 3rd, and will probably just find a cozy place to sit with my leg propped up...... But anyhow - we sure hope to see you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

La La La Labor Day!!!

We're going to be labor-free for a few days at Hummingbird Farms. This means we're taking some much needed R&R!

This is our dog Lefty. Believe it or not, this picture is a result of a couple of 4-year-olds that were playing with their mama's camera. I thought they did a good job staging this photo! Thanks Catherine & Caroline- I love the picture and love you, too!!!!!!

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend and I'll be back in touch next week all happy and energetic.... Who knows, maybe I won't even moan for a few days! Well, doubt that. It's simply not my nature....

Have a wonderful rest of the week and long weekend. Get some rest and take a couple of nice bubble baths or five!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Live! From the Moaning Room!

The other day when I posted my first pictures of my morning room, I made a typo in the title in which it read ‘Moning’ room. I left out the ‘r’. Anyway, I didn’t realize it until Kat at Just a BeachKat brought it to my attention. She laughed because she first read ‘moning’ as in ‘moaning’ room; we both agreed that having a ‘moaning room’ might not be a bad idea….

In fact, if you were to ask Jack, he would probably say that my morning room is indeed my moaning room. The truth is I have never been a good morning person. I’m grumpy when I first get up and have to wake up slowly. The good thing is that my morning room allows me a place to sit and sip on coffee as I grump about my day. So yeah – I’m honest, I like to grump. And moan. I think we all deserve to moan every now and then…..

Yes, I love my life, I’m grateful for what I have, I’m healthy, my marriage is strong, yadda, yadda, yadda…. BUT – I still enjoy moaning. It’s just life. AND I generally only moan in the morning so that's okay. AND I’m generally over it by my second cup of coffee, so that's okay, too. The key word there is “generally.”

For your reading pleasure, I thought I would list a few things I moaned about this week while sitting in my Morning Moaning Room:

1. I moaned about a conversation I had earlier in the week that really bugged me. It was a conversation with a doctor who happened to take a certain medication in which he developed a side effect – hot flashes. This said drug is known to cause this side effect. When he had his first hot flash he literally freaked out and thought he needed to get himself to the emergency room because he was certain he was having a possible cardiac event. I’m serious y’all. This guy (doctor) is telling me this and going into great detail how his hot flash started from the inside, way down in his gut and he could feel it rise up into his chest and into his head. He’s giving me a complete description of a hot flash and how scared he was because you know – I’m a woman and couldn’t possibly understand the horrors of a hot flash…. (It just so happens that not too long ago I was having a couple of those suckers an hour for several months! Now I’m down to only 2 or 3 good hot flashes a day…) Anyway, he soon figured out that the new medication had caused this famous (or infamous) hot flash that no one else in the free-world has ever had to endure. He hesitantly stayed on the medication thinking that perhaps this side effect was isolated and would subside (because I’m sure he has told every patient he has put on this medication the same thing). He then had a second hot flash and immediately took himself off the medication because it was just "too frightening, not to mention inconvenient.” It took every bit of my energy and tongue-biting not to kick him in the knee. And then the other knee. I won’t go into the same diatribe I made Jack endure about women, not so long ago, being sent off to institutions by doctors and labeled with “hysteria" due to menopause, but just so you know…. I could have moaned about this for hours!

2. It’s hot. It’s just too darn hot and I think we’re going on something like 63 triple digit days so far this year. So I had to moan about how triple digits and hot flashes don’t go together. I’m ready for fall! I also had to moan about commuting into town almost every day of the week and how tired I am of schlepping around in this heat! I generally dread the end of summer, but this year I want it OVER!

3. Okay – I can’t end my moaning on a negative note. AND the truth is my morning moaning today ended quite quickly when I flipped on the TV to QVC. Within 45 seconds of tuning in, I was on the phone placing my first order. I’ve gone back to wearing my 1980’s Knots Landing hair. Why? I don’t know. Because the 80’s look is supposedly back in vogue (far be it from me to not be in vogue) and because when I wear Knots Landing hair that means I don’t do anything to it. I just let it dry naturally and plaster a bunch of product in it. QVC has once again saved the day for me by having the newest miracle hair product on the market. So not only did I place an order, but I got on the auto shipment plan because they are so confident that I will love my new miracle hair product, they want to save me money by automatically shipping it to me every 60 days. Bless their hearts.

DISCLAIMER: I am not man bashing nor am I doctor bashing; I'm simply moaning Live! From the Moaning Room.....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Farmer's Wife



Thanks so much for all the comments about my Morning Room (aka Moaning Room) and your ideas on jazzing it up a bit. You all gave me some things to think about AND I ran with it!


This is what it looked like before. I love the clock, but it just never felt right to me where I had it. So - I changed to this:



But - the exciting thing I want to talk about is the pictures. I LOVE THEM! I bought them probably five years ago at a flea market. I've had them sitting in a drawer all this time just waiting for the perfect spot for them. After getting your comments and thinking about what I had that would go in that space I remembered these 80-year-old magazine covers that I've been wanting to do something with. I bought frames today at Michael's (50% off, woohoo!!) and smiled real pretty at Jack so that he would hang them for me. Since I knew I wanted them to be hung close together, I needed a guy's expertise with their tape measure, level, etc... When I hang stuff I just stick a nail in the wall and see how it looks. If it needs to be moved an inch or two, I just take it off the wall, pull out the nail, and try again. And again. And again. Eventually it looks right.




They're fantastic y'all! I want you to take a closer look. They are magazine covers from 'The Farmer's Wife'. Look at the date, October 1932.





This one is dated June 1932. I can't help but think what this picture is supposed to represent. This was during The Great Depression. Was this supposed to be this woman's son/husband - going off to make a living playing his saxophone? As a result his room was being rented? Who knows....


This one is from June 1935. What a pretty painting of this Farmer's Wife. If you look at the top corner of these 3 magazine covers you will see a delivery stamp on them. I can actually read who these magazines were sent to all those years ago.

One of them is addressed to:
Mrs. Wm E Meyer
Rutersville, Texas

Two of them are addressed to:
Katie Huelsebusch
Rt. 1
La Grange, Texas

My mind can't help but wonder about these two ladies. What kind of women were they? What did they farm? What kind of homes did they keep? I can't help but feel that they must have been from farms of affluence, being that they could afford a magazine subscription during the depths of The Great Depression. Both my family and Jack's family were living on farms during the depression. However - from the stories I've been told, having a magazine subscription would have been quite an extravagance.

What's also interesting to me is that Katie Huelsebusch didn't have a title before her name. That was very unusual for the time. So - was she still single and reading 'The Farmer's Wife' in preparation of becoming the perfect farmer's wife? And then of course my mind REALLY wandered about Ms. Katie from La Grange and I thought, hey! Maybe she was Katie without a title before her name because she lived at the Chicken Ranch..... Don't tell me y'all haven't heard of the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas!!?? Dolly Pardon and Burt Reynolds know all about it.....

Mrs. Meyer was obviously married to Mr. Meyer. It's not surprising that they didn't even have a street address, just the name of the town. I'm sure everyone in Rutersville new exactly where to find the Meyer Farm. How I would love to know their story..... Were they happy? What kind of struggles did they have during this trying time in our country? Do they still have family living on that farm?



The forth picture I framed is a bit newer - 1948. By this time farming had become, well - more progressive. So - here you have the cover of 'Progressive Farmer'. This magazine is still in existence today.



As I was framing one of the 'Farmer's Wife' magazine covers, this ad from Bon Ami was on the back. Had it not been on the back of the cover, I would have framed it, too! I loved reading the advertisement. In the text it said: "....a splendid thing with which to scour off dirt and grease." I might steal that line for advertising my No. 152 Lavender Body Wash: "A splendid thing with which to scour off dirt and grease." What do you think?


I couldn't help but fall in love with Mrs. Bon Ami's yellow farm sink! Love it! Check out those red checked curtains. They're fantastic! Oh - and that aloe vera plant in the window. Y'all know how I love my aloe! And look at those fabulous casement windows. I love this kitchen.... This 1930's kitchen is what I want today!

Okay - so I'm going to go to bed now to ponder more on the lives of Katie Huelsbusch and Mrs. Wm E Meyer. I hope their lives were full and their crops bountiful.

And lastly, just in case you're wondering what I did with the clock that was where the magazine covers now hang, I moved it to here:

Night, night!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Morning Room At Night


Five years of construction and we finally have one room finished..... Yeah I know - the progress has been slow. But hey, it's progress still the same. When Jack and I took on the task of building a house with neither of us having any experience in this area, we didn't quite realize the job we had taken on. The good news is we're still married.


So this is the morning room (with curtains open), adjacent to my little galley kitchen. And that's Abe sleeping in the chair. I didn't have the heart to disturb him simply to take a picture. Seeing him here also explains to you the reason why I had the slips made for the chairs to begin with. I have dogs. Hairy dogs and dirty dogs. Slip covers are a must for humans like us that live with dogs. At our house, the dogs don't live with us, we live with the dogs.....

I have washed the slips several times now. When I bought the fabric I washed it all first to ensure I wouldn't have shrinkage after having them made. Wouldn't be too good of a deal if you had slip covers made, washed them, and couldn't fit them back onto your chairs.


The main reason for this post is two-fold. First because I'm really grateful to Ann over at Hill Country House that got me on the straight and narrow on who was best in the area in making slip covers and curtains. Both were made by Debbie Phillips at Simply Slips in Fredericksburg. The fabric came from Threads, also in Fredericksburg.

Lord how I wish I could sew! Of course if I could sew, I guess the only time I could it do would be between midnight and 4:00 a.m., being that this is my only free time right now....

The second reason for this post is because I'm just so darn happy to have a room without construction going on in it AND because I need some help. I still have lots of stuff boxed up in storage so I know the decorating will continue to evolve. But - I know I need some pizzazz. Some ooomph. Some pixie dust.

Take this picture for example. See the area above and around the TV? I need something there, just don't know what. It looks kind of plain and boring to me. And yes, that is a picnic basket next to the chair. I actually use it to store magazines, just forgot to close it up for the picture. And in case you're wondering, the floor is brick from an old 1890's Chicago fire house.

That wine cooler was supposed to go in the bar, which is still being built. (Has been for two years now....) Anyway, we realized this sub-zero cooler wasn't going to fit in the space we had intended. So, we had to reconfigure. We've done a lot of reconfiguring in the last 5 years. We simply slapped some paint on it and moved it into the morning room. I needed a little coffee/beverage station and the two refrigerator draws underneath the wine cooler are kind of nice to have for juice, etc. So - the "make-do" actually ended up working out just fine.

Here' s a close-up. I still need to rearrange the shelves a bit and you know - add some pizzazz. The cabinetry in the morning room matches that in the kitchen. Since my kitchen is galley and small, I wanted the morning room to serve as an extention of the kitchen with the same flow.

This is a breakfast bar we had built. It needs some pizzazz on the wall above, too. My pizzazz gene is not working well right now. Having this bar in the morning room is also nice because guests sit around here while I'm in the kitchen cooking and we can still have converstation. Kind of keeps the crowd out of my small cooking area. I guess I should post some pics of the kitchen next time.....


I do like that I had open shelves put in below the bar. Nice place to store all the squash out of the garden. I obviously need to cook some squash.....
Thanks for visiting my new morning room. It's actually my favorite room right now and I do love sipping on my coffee and watching the news early in the morning. But, please.... If you have any suggestions on jazzing up the place, please let me know!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It feels like home...


As a child, teenager, college student, and young adult, I went on too many road trips to count to Lajitas (pronounced LA-he-tus) in far West Texas; although for the last few years I've rarely been and have missed it tremendously. This is where I grew up and what I still consider home. To me, home is that place that gives you that feeling you get of calmness and peace. I guess I’m really fortunate because I get that feeling when I’m home at Hummingbird Farms, but also when I’m home in West Texas. Come to think of it, I also get it when I’m near the sea and breathing that salty air….



Lavender Chick’s definition of home: On familiar ground in which you feel in harmony with your surroundings; a feeling or a place of peace, comfort, and security.





Perhaps I’m ambidextrous in the home department being that I can get that home feeling in more than one place... One thing’s for sure – home would never be a place to me that I couldn’t have my animals. It just wouldn’t be right. Some of you may still be looking for home, but most of you, I hope, have found it and are living it. My mother has moved to a new house and I was asking her last week while visiting if it felt like home. For some reason, it's so important for me to know that you always feel "at home."




Sami (one of my special friends that I grew up with that can finish my sentences for me) and her 14-year-old daughter and I decided we needed some soul cleansing, and of course the only place we know we can always achieve this without fail is to drive way out west.



Oh – on a completely other note, I have also discovered that taking a road trip with a 14-year-old is kind of nice because we can borrow each others zit medicine. It’s that much less to pack…

Okay, so the three of us headed west and had a wonderful, wonderful time. Now that I have shown you some pictures of this trip, I have to show you a couple of pictures of my last trip to Lajitas with Jack, which was actually almost 9 years ago.


This is Jack at DOM, holding a box of DOM. Those of you that have seen the movie ‘Fandango’ will know what I’m talking about. I won’t go into detail here because this is the subject of a whole other post. But – anyone that has graduated from the University of Texas has most likely seen this movie, being that it is quite the UT cult movie and kind of a rule that you must see it in order to be a true UT alum.

This is a picture of me just before we approached DOM. I have to say that this is THE MOST favorite picture I have of myself because it makes me feel like home. Why? Well, let me see how I can put this into words (or type). First of all, this place in which I’m standing is a spiritual place for me because it makes me feel small. Does that make sense? I guess to me, it is such a beautiful place and it makes me feel that, in the grand scheme of things, I’m just little ole me in a great big gigantic world that was created by something much bigger and grander.

But, another reason I like this picture and why it makes me feel like home is because it is the last picture I have of myself that actually portrays what my old boobs used to look like. As some of you know that have been reading my blog, I lost those two boobs to cancer a few years ago. Ironically, I have a lot of pictures of myself, but none that really provide any detail of my old boobs. I find it quite appropriate that the last and only picture I can find of my old boobs is at this place that I love so much and that means so much to me.

I miss those boobs. They felt like home.